Lake County Property Appraiser
Greatest achievement: My 32-year career in the Army National Guard. I joined as an 18-year-old high school student and just retired in January 2013. Being in the Army National Guard took me from the jungle of Panama to the desert of Iraq.
Lessons learned in Iraq: When I joined the Army National Guard in 1981, we trained for war against the Soviet Union. Like us, Russia had an arsenal of planes, tanks, and advanced weaponry. In Iraq, we fought against an enemy without uniforms who immersed themselves among the general population and hid in mosques. Fighting against this kind of enemy took a great adjustment on the part of the U.S. military.
Worst advice: “Carey, don’t run for office. Your gun shop background will kill you.” In reality, I’ve never lost an election. I served as a state representative from 2000 to 2004 and as a state senator from 2004 to 2010. In 2012, the people of Lake County elected me as property appraiser of Lake County.
Future home value projection: I foresee a modest increase in home values. We have bottomed out economically, so it is not going to get any worse.
Last book: Death in the Dark Continent by Peter Hathaway Capstick. It was particularly interesting because I just returned home from a hunting trip in South Africa.
Favorite junk food: My wife’s cupcakes.
Desired tombstone inscription: “He loved his Lord. He loved his family. He loved his country.”
Pet peeve: I have none. If I overlook minor flaws in other people, then hopefully they’ll overlook my minor flaws.
Worst school grade: I made a D in algebra during high school. However, I turned around and made A’s in my two algebra classes at Lake-Sumter State College.
Nobody knows: I read nearly 20 history books each year. I love history. When I’m driving, I often listen to audiotapes.
Brush with fame: In 2004, I introduced George W. Bush at his campaign stop in The Villages[divider_1px]
- Age: 50 Hometown: Eustis
- Interesting fact: In 2003 while a member of the Florida House of Representatives, Baker was deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was the first state or federal elected official to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom while holding office.
- Outside politics: Co-owns the A.W. Peterson Gun Shop in Mt. Dora, the oldest-continuously operating gun shop in the U.S.
- All in the family: Baker’s father Leighton was the first Republican state representative for Lake County.